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there is no SOUL


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@ disarray: My two cents... We previously (in other threads) touched on eternal consciousness (or information) in stead of the immortal soul. A speculative question - why not rather the unconscious and/or the subconscious? There are numerous reports on the extent of the unconscious mind, for example prenatal "memories". Contemporary cognitive psychology points to unconscious processing of extensive amounts of information by a perceiver (or observer?). I find that interesting. Why would we (and other living organisms?) be equipped with the capability to capture & process data and to store information that seemingly exceeds the scope of what is required to survive? Dreams, for example, are linked to the unconscious and if that is assumed to be true, then animals also have unconscious minds. The subconscious is defined as "operating or existing outside of consciousness", which is important given the fact that the contemporary school of thought is that the latter (just like free will) could be somewhat of a misnomer. Freud described it as "another consciousness, a subterranean one, as it were." To me this appears to be very soul-like.

 

PS. I edited some of the above after reading this article that attempts to explain the differences between the conscious, sub and unconscious minds: http://themindunleashed.org/2014/03/conscious-subconscious-unconscious-mind-work.html. I am not sure I agree with everything in the article though, especially not the last part dealing with consciously influencing the unconscious. Afaik it works better from the bottom up, through psychoanalytic therapy for example..?

Edited by Memammal
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imatfaal: I was trying to work with you in order to determine what sort of data one might expect to gather in order to test such a null hypothesis (or rather, test the likelihood of the alternative hypothesis). Of course, if there is no data or evidence of any kind, then there is no case for believing in something. (I took a course in epidemiology from the ex-head of the CDC epidemiology department, so you need not explain the basics of a controlled experiment to me).

 

Memammal: I couldn’t agree with you more. Yes, as per your article, much of the subconscious is just liminal memory and what not that enables us to do even simple things such as walking without relearning them every day.

 

But taken as an organized whole, I would suggest that the subconscious is even more (vividly) aware than the everyday conscious mind. (I prefer the term “subconscious” in this regard, as the literature does not make a clear and consistent distinction between the two. Moreover, the term “unconscious” has connotations of being knocked out, asleep, unaware, etc.).

 

Indeed, if we posit a link between our brains everyday conscious awareness and that of a kind of extended subconscious that includes previous incarnations, then I would put the ratio at something like .00001% to 99.99999 (as an obviously wild guess) instead of the 5% to 95% ratio of everyday conscious to subconscious mental activity mentioned in the website you referenced. But now scientists consider that a fallacy.

 

In this sense, I think that the movie “Lucy,” though not intended as a documentary, more accurately portrays what is meant by the saying that one only uses a fraction (e.g., 10%) of one’s brain power. We used to think that the saying meant that we could learn and remember a lot more if we studied, traveled, learn languages, etc. as much as possible, thereby using, say 80% of our brain power .

 

However, the movie “Lucy” really, I think, takes that same saying with respect to the subconscious, and makes a valid point: It is not really a question of whether ones conscious mind survives death, but rather that ones conscious mind blends back in with the entire subconscious realm that was always there throughout ones life. Indeed, this is what happens, I think, to a very small degree when one is under the influence of certain drugs, or experiences certain states of awareness via meditation/lucid dreaming, or one has near death/out-of-body experiences (i.e., alleged astral travel).

 

I realize that there is virtually no scientific evidence to suggest that consciousness survives death, but it is significant, I think, that the descriptions that people give from all three of these states of mind are often so similar. (Of course, discrepancies burgeon when people start interpreting and embellishing these experiences by convincing themselves that that they saw some god or their deceased aunt, or whatever).

 

Again, I would think that the state of awareness found in the subconscious is so much more vivid than that of everyday consciousness that it would not be accessible to our usual 5 senses, and thus never perhaps accessible to empirical or scientific validation. Hence, the insistence of Eastern religions in general, and, say, Zen Buddhism in particular, that getting a glimpse of the subconscious (aka overself, higher consciousness, enlightened self, etc.) often means getting past intellectual/verbal efforts to understand such a state of awareness. Indeed, even if someone does have a legitimate experience in which they glimpse part of their own subconscious, they could not (apart from giving paltry verbal explanations) show this to another person ( a key component of the scientific method) because, as we all know, we never really experience directly what goes on in other people's minds/consciousness.

 

As for your not agreeing with the idea in the article you cited that the conscious influences the subconscious, I think that it is typical of New-Ageish type therapies that they make rather overly-empowering (but false) claims that one need only visualize some goal or repeat certain positive statements over and over until, lo and behold, they become actualized (e.g., the book, The Secret, which is based on some alleged law of attraction and claims that positive thinking can create life-changing results such as increased happiness, health, and wealth). I guess this is sort of an unorthodox version of praying for what one wants! Of course, confidence helps in life, but no, I don't think that one sends vibes out into the universe and the universe responds by giving you what you visualized.

 

But yes, I agree with you, and I think that there is far more sub-consciousness than we realize, and that this sub-consciousness is far more aware and vivid than we realize. I suppose we can’t access the subconscious very much, though that is often what psychologists try to do (e.g., via hypnosis), as we would be overwhelmed with sensations and information. We couldn’t function at all if we recalled everything we every said and did all at once, as well as all the various combination of everything we said and did (as our dreams tend to do with our memories), and clean the house as well. (The mind really does keep certain door either shut, jammed, or locked).

 

Nevertheless, my guess is that the subconscious is there, hiding (like Blake’s Tyger in the Night), lying quietly in wait.

Edited by disarray
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In this sense, I think that the movie “Lucy,” though not intended as a documentary

 

 

Ironic understatment?

 

, more accurately portrays what is meant by the saying that one only uses a fraction of one’s brain power. We used to think that the saying meant that we could learn and remember a lot more if we studied, traveled, learn languages, etc. as much as possible.

 

Really? I thought people (erroneously) took it literally to mean we only used 10% of our brain.

 

We used to think that the saying meant that we could learn and remember a lot more if we studied, traveled, learn languages, etc. as much as possible.

 

But now psychologists consider that a fallacy.

Do they? It seems it was only a few days ago I was reading about the cognitive benefits of learning more than one language.

 

 

I realize that there is virtually no scientific evidence to suggest that consciousness survives death, but it is significant, I think, that the descriptions that people give from all three of these states of mind are so similar.

 

Perhaps because they are caused by similar metabolic processes?

 

Regarding your speculations about the subconscious mind, it sounds like you haven't done much research into this. And I mean the science not things like Buddhism, Fraud Freud, Jung, etc.

For example:

 

 

Yes, as per your article, much of the subconscious is just liminal memory and what not that enables us to do even simple things such as walking without relearning them every day.

 

Is totally wrong (based on the little I have read on the subject).

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Strange:
Your comment about Lucy not being a documentary has no content.

 

As for the 10% myth, here is what Washington.edu kid's site has to say:

"According to the believers of this myth, if we used more of our brain, then we could perform super memory feats and have other fantastic mental abilities... I do not know of any data that would support any of this." https://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/tenper.html

 

In any case, to argue about what the 10% myth means, or whether it is a myth, is to follow you down a rabbit hole, since there are several variants:

 

"The myth is not simply a static, misunderstood factoid. It has several forms, and this adaptability gives it a shelf life longer than lacquered Spam. In the basic form, the myth claims that years ago a scientist discovered that we indeed did use only ten percent of our brains. Another variant is that only ten percent of the brain had been mapped, and this in turn became misunderstood as ten percent used." http://www.snopes.com/science/stats/10percent.asp

I am well aware that there are plenty of neuroscientific explanations for the phenomena I mentioned. I chose not to go into them because I was trying to put forth an overall model, not dismantle it with opposing ideas at the same time. Your assumption that I am not versed in the matter, or have not researched physical explanations is a rather gratuitous ad hominem.

 

Indeed, there are plenty of a-religious based, scientific arguments made in favor of the nature of emergent consciousness, made by real life scientists (your sarcasm is catchy I guess). You seem to be given to journalistic generalizations in this regard, e.g., are you suggesting that Freud's work in total was fraudulent, or just couldn't be bothered deleting the word "fraud".

 

Just what consitutes the subconscious is anyone's definition. Indeed, no one has seen or located any such animal, so to speak. It is a general term that is used in various contexts for various purposes in the literature. For you to claim that basic skills are or are not a part of subconscious areas of the brain, perhaps related to various configurations of neural pathways seems like another gratuitous criticism, given that there is no agreed upon usage of the term "subconscious" in the first place.

 

But lets look at a few quotes in which we see motor skills (e.g., walking) associated with subconscious activity:

 

“Your conscious actions eventually become subconscious habits. The basal ganglia, a brain organ is believed to “automate thinking and acting, turning focally conscious activities into quick, reliable, unthinking habit…Science has clearly shown that complex intelligent activities can be managed by your subconscious drives..”

 

http://www.effective-mind-control.com/understanding-the-subconscious-mind.html

 

“Subconscious learning probably is possible, say US researchers. What’s more, subconscious learning may affect our conscious decisions – without our realizing it. Takeo Watanabe and his colleagues at Boston University found that people who had watched a particular direction of subliminal dot movement during a letter-naming trial were significantly better at picking it out later.”

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn1476-subliminal-study-shows-subconscious-learning-is-possible/

 

“neuro-anatomical schedules of development illustrate the important role sub-cortical primitive structures play in cognition at subconscious levels

from Treatise on the Neurophilosophy of Conscious, p. 185

 

I could go on, but since you have made no genuine point except to be insulting and to say that your reading and thoughts are somewhat different from mine, I have nothing to go on.

Edited by disarray
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Your comment about Lucy not being a documentary has no content.

 

I was appreciating your joke.

 

 

In any case, to argue about what the 10% myth means, or whether it is a myth, is to follow you down a rabbit hole, since there are several variants:

 

Fair enough. I had only come across people taking it completely literally. (And I thought that was the point of the movie, Lucy.)

 

 

Just what consitutes the subconscious is anyone's definition. Indeed, no one has seen or located any such animal, so to speak.

 

There has been a large amount of scientific research into this. That is all I was saying. I'm sure there are various definitions, I was using a simple one along the lines of "things that are not part of our conscious thought processes - i.e. things we may not be aware of our mind doing for us"

 

 

For you to claim that basic skills are or are not a part of subconscious areas of the brain

 

I didn't intend to claim any such thing. Sorry if I gave that impression.

 

 

are you suggesting that Freud's work in total was fraudulent

 

Just that his work has little to do with science.

 

 

I could go on, but since you have made no genuine point except to be insulting

 

That also wasn't my intention. Sorry if I gave that impression.

 

I was just curious how much of the science on the role of unconscious/subconscious thought you had looked into.

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imatfaal: I was trying to work with you in order to determine what sort of data one might expect to gather in order to test such a null hypothesis (or rather, test the likelihood of the alternative hypothesis). Of course, if there is no data or evidence of any kind, then there is no case for believing in something. (I took a course in epidemiology from the ex-head of the CDC epidemiology department, so you need not explain the basics of a controlled experiment to me).

 

....

 

I was commenting on two factors - one that you are still phrasing your comments in a manner which I would not do; you do not "test such a null hypothesis" nor do you "test the likelihood of the alternative hypothesis". You gather data which you can show is significantly unlikely to be consistent with the null hypothesis - it is not the same. In this scenario you would hypothesise that the soul could do X which we would observe as Y - the null would be that we can explain Y without recourse to X. At present I have seen no claim of Y that stands up to a prima facie examination let alone enough to actually test. If we got to testing that is where we would start thinking about controls to limit type 1 errors etc. There is also the ethical control problem when dealing with death and human subjects

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I was just curious how much of the science on the role of unconscious/subconscious thought you had looked into.

Strange, what is your opinion with reference to the suggestion that the unconscious/subconscious could perhaps be the "missing link" to- or be representative of the elusive soul? Too far-fetched, unlikely, or do we simply not know enough about the unconscious/subconscious?

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I was commenting on two factors - one that you are still phrasing your comments in a manner which I would not do; you do not "test such a null hypothesis" nor do you "test the likelihood of the alternative hypothesis". You gather data which you can show is significantly unlikely to be consistent with the null hypothesis - it is not the same. In this scenario you would hypothesise that the soul could do X which we would observe as Y - the null would be that we can explain Y without recourse to X. At present I have seen no claim of Y that stands up to a prima facie examination let alone enough to actually test. If we got to testing that is where we would start thinking about controls to limit type 1 errors etc. There is also the ethical control problem when dealing with death and human subjects

 

 

I see nothing wrong with the phrase "test a null hypothesis" e.g.,

 

"In a test of the null hypothesis image002.gif against the alternative hypothesis image004.gif...." http://www.svgs.k12.va.us/web/Math/APMathQuestionBank/StatsWebpages/1997_APSTATS_MC%2029_SOLN.htm

 

And yes we can have a test in which we, for example, find the "likelihood of the alternative hypothesis" (though, yes, we are not technically 'testing the likelihood').

p. 196, of "Molecular Evolution" A Phylogenetic Approach

 

And I am not so sure that one sets out to "gather data which you can show is significantly unlikely to be consistent with the null hypothesis" as you suggest, rather one collects data, and then determines whether it is actually significantly unlikely. The way you phrase it makes it sounds as if you are biased in the method by which you are collecting the data, which would give you biased and skewed results.

 

Your comments about a type 1 error (what about type 2?) and about ethical controls or lack of evidence to date are beside the point. You still do not address my question as to what specific type of data one might collect. I might as well comment about how sensitive or specific I might be as I determine type 1 or type 2 errors, but that is all beside my original point as to what sort of data one might collect in the first place.

Edited by disarray
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Strange, what is your opinion with reference to the suggestion that the unconscious/subconscious could perhaps be the "missing link" to- or be representative of the elusive soul? Too far-fetched, unlikely, or do we simply not know enough about the unconscious/subconscious?

I don't think they are distinct layers, or areas, but a single continuum where we arbitrarily assign those labels depending on the level of neuronal complexity or information processing we are looking at.

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Just that his work has little to do with science.

 

 

Typically, the literature on the subconscious and unconscious does not speculate on the possibility of "spiritual" (for lack of a better word) considerations.

 

Of course, one can read about the brain chemistry related to drug effects, and to a lesser extent, on dream states and out of body experiences. I dare say that they are not all explained by the same "metabolic" or neurological effects.

 

When it comes to researching about the nature of subconscious phenomena with respect to the way that they interface with conscious states of awareness, one typically deals with a sort of hybrid literature that blends philosophy, neuroscience, and psychology. For example, I read a very good book on the neuroscience of psychoanalysis recently, and it covered the spectrum of relevant literature quite well, including Freud et al. (Indeed, Freud has been somewhat dusted off and refurbished in light of modern neuroscience). Anyway, the gist of the book was that children who have unsatisfied emotional needs because they did not get enough attention, grow up to be adults who expect their own children to look after their emotional needs, with the result that these children in turn do not have their emotional needs fulfilled because they are too busy trying to look after their own parents....and so a vicious cycle is set up. But at each step of the way, the author referred to parts of the brain, hormones, dopamine, serotonin, neural pathways, etc. etc.

 

Then one can study NLP, which is a questionable therapeutic process that attempts to blend certain brain and mental activities with therapeutic thoughts.

 

I could go on, but my point is that most of the literature that I have dealt with (I minored in psychology) has to do with therapy and the brain.

 

When it comes to speculating about "spirituality" and the brain more specifically, then we are dealing with the likes of Sam Harris, Dennett, and Stephen Pinker, whose books I have also delved into. There is also an interesting material written by Carter Phipps in this regard.

 

So yes, we know that consciousness is intimately tied up with physiology, though the key question is whether there is anything left besides the physiology, and though there are those scientists who adamantly say no, there also those who are equally qualified who say maybe. Though I don't have an open mind when it comes to such things as ghosts, UFOs, scientology, Creationism, angels, devils, gods, demons, prayer, hell, and a host of other superstitions, I do think, as do many scientist/philosophers, that it is worth pondering the scientific possibility that there is more to learn about consciousness and subconsciousness with regards to emergent qualities than is presently known.


I don't think they are distinct layers, or areas, but a single continuum where we arbitrarily assign those labels depending on the level of neuronal complexity or information processing we are looking at.

Yes, that is true. But I think that there is still a general tendency to think in terms of body vs. mind, or physical versus mental, or material vs. spiritual.

 

Part of the problem is that the idea that consciousness might be somehow independent as well dependent upon the body has been actually besmirched, so to speak, in the eyes of scientists, because it has been the domain of superstitious religions (i.e., pretty much all of them), so that it is hard to ponder the issue without such connotations popping into mind.

 

Hopefully, now that physicists have shown that there is no hard and fast line between so-called matter and energy (but rather a sort of continuum), the issue may be given some serious consideration.

Edited by disarray
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Strange, what is your opinion with reference to the suggestion that the unconscious/subconscious could perhaps be the "missing link" to- or be representative of the elusive soul? Too far-fetched, unlikely, or do we simply not know enough about the unconscious/subconscious?

 

I don't know what a soul is, so I don't really have an opinion.

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Don't overthink it. Time is what clocks measure, just as rulers measure space or distance.You never hear people asking "What is the ontology of distance?" it's a parameter that can be measured with clocks, nothing more. It is existential with space and does not require objects for it to exist. What objects do is curve spacetime and thus alters the rate of time relative to another frame that is not moving with the same velocity and/or not in the same gravitational potential.

 

That's the model, I'm talking about outside of the model :P Saying that time is what clocks measure is the same as saying that cars are what gets you from A to B. It doesn't say much about what it is. Nothing wrong with trying to figure out what something is.

 

Seems that saying that time is the continuation of processes, and that the speed of these processes is variable, doesn't actually go against the model. I could be wrong, of course.

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That's the model, I'm talking about outside of the model :P

 

 

Without a model there is nothing we can use. :P

 

 

 

Saying that time is what clocks measure is the same as saying that cars are what gets you from A to B. It doesn't say much about what it is.

Yes, exactly. Now, tell me what 'A to B' is... what is it, really, what's it made of, how does it function? What is the fundamental essence of 'A to B'? The correct answer is,of course: 'A to B' is what the car measures! :)

 

 

Seems that saying that time is the continuation of processes, and that the speed of these processes is variable, doesn't actually go against the model. I could be wrong, of course.

Yes, it does because time does not need a process; spacetime works without any process in it...time is still ticking away. We, of course, need a process (clock) to measure it. If you can't get your head around that, remember, we can get a ruler and measure space anywhere; space is what rulers measure. It's ok to be wrong. ;)

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Without a model there is nothing we can use. :P

While that's true, it's a philosophical matter.

 

Yes, it does because time does not need a process; spacetime works without any process in it...time is still ticking away. We, of course, need a process (clock) to measure it. If you can't get your head around that, remember, we can get a ruler and measure space anywhere; space is what rulers measure. It's ok to be wrong. ;)

 

Right, but can show that time doesn't need processes? If the model says it doesn't, then you should be able to show that.

 

Edited by Thorham
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"spacetime works without any process in it...time is still ticking away"

 

i think that this is rather speculative. Perhaps we can construct models that suggest that, but it is something of a fallacy to think that our models, however neat and tidy, must represent what is going on. I think that the claim that one fully understand time is as spurious as the claim that one understands quantum theory. I have have come across quite a few comments from various physicists on this question, and it seems that there are many different opinions, e.g., Kurt Godel or Sorli and Fiscaletti. It is one thing to say that "spacetime works without any process in it" with respect to a particular model of a universe, and quite another to make this statement as if it is an indisputable fact. This is hardly an open and shut case and I suggest the jury is still out with regards to speculations, for example, as to whether we can have space without anything in it, or whether there is such a thing as an absolute vacuum apart from theory, etc.

Edited by disarray
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"spacetime works without any process in it...time is still ticking away"

 

i think that this is rather speculative.

I'm only working on what GR says: time is integral with space in the the form of spacetime.

Edited by StringJunky
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